Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


British String Miniatures 2
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)

Set of Act Tunes and Dances (arr. Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) (1923)
Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930)

Serenade for the Birthday of Frederick Delius (1922)
Gareth GLYN (b. 1951)

Anglesey Sketches (2001)
Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)

Air and Dance (1915)
Mathew CURTIS (b. 1959)

Serenade (1993 rev. 2001)
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)

Suite; The Spanish Lady (ed. Percy YOUNG 1956)
Philip LANE (b. 1950)

Serenata Concertante (1990)
Richard Friedman and Abigail Young, (violin)
Helen Kamminga (viola) and James Potter (cello)
Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland
ASV WHITE LINE CD WHL 2136 [76.01]

Gavin Sutherland and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia continue their highly recommendable collaboration with a British String Miniature brace of discs, of which this is the second. Moreover the selection is astute and listening is a sheer pleasure due to the variety of inspirations and idioms – others in their series have perhaps been rather less digestible in this respect. So the disc begins with Arthur Bliss’s arrangement – and a very respectful, un-Rout one at that – of some Purcell dance tunes. There’s an absence of swaggering grandiosity and an appealing generosity to them and I was particularly impressed by the delicate string playing in the third movement Sarabande. Warlock’s Serenade brings its Delius saturated tribute – coagulated if you’re unsympathetic – and one that threatens any moment to turn into Brigg Fair and ends with that Elgar Introduction and Allegro pizzicato. Gareth Glyn was born in 1951 and lives in Anglesey, whose sketches he has evoked here with lyricism and colour. They date from 2001, are in five named movements starting with a reverie and ending in an Elegy of some depth. That opener is open-spaced and lyric, one that rises and falls over pizzicati underpinning in a gently effortless way. The pastorale ("Malltraeth") is by contrast jaunty and blustery and just mildly capricious too but with some gorgeous melodies embedded into it. The evocative Intermezzo is followed by the frolicsome naughtiness of the Scherzo before a keening solo cello adds even more plangency to Moelfre, the final movement, one that alludes to the treacherous stretch of coast of the same name that has cost so many lives. Once more good programming; Delius’s delightful 1915 Air and Dance acts as a breaker before Matthew Curtis’s Serenade, written in 1993 and revised for this recording in 2001. In three movements I greatly liked the easy fluency of the opening Spring Song with its admixture of breezy generosity; some beautiful lower string pointing as well. The central Elegy has nobility but also rises to affectionate lyricism as well whilst the tarantella finale goes with breezy drive and vigour. It’s Elgar’s turn to separate the contemporary composers this time or Elgar/Young to be exact in the form of the suite from The Spanish Lady. Of the five scenes it’s the Sarabande that really shines, especially in this performance – really vital and attractive playing. Philip Lane’s Serenata Concertante finishes the disc. Written in the 1970s originally for brass band it was rewritten for strings in 1990 and even draws on a youthful melody, composed when Lane was a teenager, as the main theme of the second movement Adagio. As Lane mentions in his notes the concerto grosso-like first movement features a fine quartet set against a body of strings (listen to Helen Kamminga’s especially eloquent viola). The Adagio opens desolately, full of yearning and tremolando eeriness; also, too, a sense of stasis, reflection and reminiscence. His youthful melody is indeed rather beautiful. The Vivace finale is zestful, rhythmically imaginative and very confidently scored.

A charmer of a disc, recorded in a natural acoustic with to the point notes from Philip Lane; the interspersed Elgar, Delius and Warlock add balance and historical perspective to the contemporary work and the Purcell-Bliss is an old fashionedly delightful starter. Strongly recommended.

Jonathan Woolf

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